How To Build a Trellis Planter Bench

Difficulty: Medium  |  Estimated time: 6 hours  |  Help needed: 6 volunteers

This project combines the goodness of bench seating, planters, and a trellis all in one! Adults and children appreciate having plenty of seating areas in and near their playspace. The planters provide a unique opportunity for children to tend to a plant and watch it grow! A trellis is an important feature of a garden, allowing for the growth of plants that need support, such as vines and roses. So, while aesthetically pleasing in its own right, it also serves as a structural piece which allows the garden to reach a variety of heights.

Download Instructions

Materials and tools

Quantity:Materials:
2 2x6x10' boards
5 2x4x8' boards
19 4x4x8' boards
2 4x4x10' boards
7 2x2x8' boards
1 4x8' lattice
1lb 2 ½" deck screws
10lbs 60d 6" galvanized nails
8 ½"x6" galvanized lag screws
8 ½"x6" galvanized carriage bolts
16 ½" galvanized washers
16 ½" galvanized nuts
7cf Fill material
6cf Potting soil
Adjust as needed Plants/flowers
Tools needed:
Miter saw
Circular saw
Pencil
Tape measure
Carpenter's square
Safety glasses
Chalk line
Drill
½" long drill bit
¼" drill bit
Screwdriver bit
Hammer
¾" socket with ratchet or ¾" open-ended wrench

Preparation instructions

  1. Sort all materials into piles by like items to ensure you have materials needed to complete project.

  2. Take [8] of the 4x4x8' boards. Cut each into [3] 31" pieces, for a total of [24] 4x4x31" pieces.

  3. Take [7] of the remaining 4x4x8' boards. Cut each into [4] 24" pieces, for a total of [28] 4x4x24" pieces.

  4. Take the [5] 2x4x8' boards. Cut each into [3] 31" pieces, for a total of [15] 2x4x31" pieces.

  5. Take the [7] 2x2x8' pieces. Cut each into [3] 32" pieces, for a total of [21] 2x2x32" pieces.

  6. Take the 4x8' lattice. Using the chalk line to mark and the circular saw to cut, cut [2] 24"x66" pieces of lattice.

  7. Do NOT cut the following pieces:

    • [4] 4x4x8' boards
    • [2] 2x6x10' boards
    • [2] 2x6x10' boards

Build instructions

  1. Before building, inventory and sort all of your materials.

    Quantity:Inventory:
    2 4x4x10' boards
    24 4x4x31" pieces
    28 4x4x24" pieces
    4 4x4x8' boards
    14 2x4x31" pieces
    2 2x6x10' pieces
    21 2x2x32" pieces
    2 24"x66" lattice pieces
  2. Create 12 planter squares using (2) 4x4x24" and (2) 4x4x31". Attach these 4x4s using 6" nails and a hammer (Indicated by dots). You will want to pre-drill the holes with the ¼" drill bit to avoid bending the nails.

  3. Using 6 of the squares you just made, build 2 planter bases, each 3 levels (or squares) high. Attach one level at a time, rotating each level 90° so the 31" pieces always sit on top of 24" pieces. Use 6" nails to make two connections per level, one connection in the middle of each 31" piece.

  4. Connect the two planter bases with the 4x4x10' beams, sandwiching 24" pieces between them as pictured.

  5. Build three more levels on top of the 4x4x10' beams to complete the planters (each planter should be a total of 7 courses high). Use the same rotation method, using 6" nails for the connections.

  6. Using the 2 ½" screws, attach the 2x4x31" pieces to the 10' beams, leaving even-spaced gaps (about ¼") between the pieces and between the end pieces and the planters.

  7. Attach two (2) verticals per planter for a total of four (4) per bench. Secure each beam with two (2) 6" lag screws, driven through at a right (90°) angle to one another. Tip: Measure where the lag screws will go, mark it on the 4x4, and remove the 4x4s to pre-drill the holes.

  8. Next, attach the 2x6x10' headers to the 4x4x8' vertical posts. One at a time, you’ll need to level the headers at the top. Note that the verticals may not be at exactly the same height, so get the headers leveled as close to the tops as possible. Once level, attach the headers with (2) 6" carriage bolts, nuts, and washers on each side.

  9. Attach the twenty-one (21) 2x2x32" louvers to the top of the headers using the 2 ½" deck screws. They should be evenly spaced with one spanning flush with the end of each rafter and approximately 4 ½" apart.

  10. Lastly, attach the lattice sections to the vertical beams. Each pair of vertical beams will get (1) 66"x24" section of lattice. Use 2 ½" screws or nails, spread about 12" apart, to attach the lattice.

  11. If desired, fill each planter box with fill material, potting soil, and plants/flowers.